New Evidence on Real Wage Cyclicality within Employer-Employee Matches
25 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2006 Last revised: 5 Jul 2010
Date Written: May 2006
In the most thorough study to date on wage cyclicality among job stayers, Devereux%u2019s (2001) analysis of men in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics produced two puzzling findings: (1) the real wages of salaried workers are noncyclical, and (2) wage cyclicality among hourly workers differs between two alternative wage measures. We examine these puzzles with additional evidence from other sources. Devereux%u2019s finding of noncyclical real wages among salaried job stayers is not replicated in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data. The NLSY data, however, do corroborate his finding of a discrepancy for hourly workers between the cyclicality of the two alternative wage measures. Evidence from the PSID Validation Study contradicts Devereux%u2019s conjecture that the discrepancy might be due to a procyclical bias from measurement error in average hourly earnings. Evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics establishment survey supports his hypothesis that overtime work accounts for part (but not all) of the discrepancy. We conclude that job stayers%u2019 real average hourly earnings are substantially procyclical and that an important portion of that procyclicality probably is due to compensation beyond base wages.
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